Miss Aloha Hula Competition Tonight
Contestants for the prestigious title of Miss Aloha Hula 2014 will take the stage tonight in the opening competitive event at the 51st annual Merrie Monarch Festival.
Thirteen dancers will compete in the only individual competitive event at the world’s premiere hula festival. Dancers are selected to perform representing their halau, and are judged on their performances of hula kahiko (traditional), hula ʻauana (modern), and oli (chant).
Big Island contestants include Melia Kauʻikeonalani Carmen Taganas of Hālau Nā Lei Hiwahiwa ʻO Kuʻualoha (Hilo), whose Kumu Hula is Sammye Ann Kuʻualoha Young, and Leiomālama Tamasese Solomon of Beamer-Solomon Hālau O Poʻohala (Waimea), whose Kumu Hula is Hulali Solomon Covington.
The Miss Aloha Hula Festival begins 5:45 p.m. at the Edith Kanakaʻole Stadium.
The festival competition continues Friday at the Kanakaʻole Tennis Stadium at 5:45 p.m. with opening night for 23 halau performing traditional hula kahiko for both wahine (women) and kane (men).
Among the competitors is a third Big Island halau, Hālau Hula ʻO Kahikilaulani (Kāne and Wahine) of Hilo, whose Kumu Hula is Nāhōkū Gaspang.
The final events of the 2014 Festival unfold Saturday night with the hula ʻauana competition and announcement of the festival’s winners.
Tickets are necessary to view the sold-out competitive events, which are televised live on KFVE.
Meanwhile there is free mid-day entertainment Thursday and Friday at noon at the Hawaiʻi Naniloa Volcanoes Resort and at 1 p.m. at the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel.
The free Merrie Monarch Invitational Hawaiian Arts Fair is at the Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium, featuring local artists, crafters and entertainment, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.
The Merrie Monarch Parade, one of the festival’s most popular and entertaining family events, begins 10:30 a.m. Saturday on Pauahi Street and winds through downtown Hilo on Kilauea and Keawe streets, makes a right on Waianuenue Ave., then right on Kamehameha Ave. and back to Bishop St. where it ends.
Plan early to get the best spot to see all the bands, floats and other entries, especially the colorful Pa`u riders on horseback.